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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Integrated Strategies for Improved Water Quality and Ecosystem Integrity within Agricultural Watersheds

Location: Water Quality and Ecology Research

Title: Application of polyacrylamide (PAM) through lay-flat polyethylene 1 tubing: effects on infiltration, erosion, N and P transport, and corn yield

Author
item Mcneal, Jacob
item Krutz, L
item Locke, Martin
item Kenty, Michael
item Atwill Ii, Richard
item Pickelmann, Dustin
item Bryant, Corey
item Wood, C
item Golden, Bobby
item Cox, Michael

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/18/2017
Publication Date: 4/28/2017
Citation: McNeal, J., Krutz, L., Locke, M.A., Kenty, M., Atwill II, R., Pickelmann, D., Bryant, C., Wood, C., Golden, B., Cox, M. 2017. Application of polyacrylamide (PAM) through lay-flat polyethylene 1 tubing: effects on infiltration, erosion, N and P transport, and corn yield. Journal of Environmental Quality. doi: 10.2134/jeq2016.08.0299.

Interpretive Summary: Polyacrylamides (PAMs) are applied as soil amendments to improve soil infiltration, decrease erosion, and reduce off-site agrochemical transport. This technology has not been fully assessed for use in production systems on soils typical of the Lower Mississippi Delta Alluvial Plain in the Mid-South USA. ARS scientists collaborated with Mississippi State Delta Research and Extension Center, Stoneville, MS, in a field study evaluating effects of irrigation with and without PAM on infiltration, erosion and chemical loss, and corn grain yield. PAM increased infiltration and corn grain yield by 6%, but effects on the loss of sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus were inconsistent. Results indicate that PAM improves infiltration and corn grain yield; however, further research is required before PAM can be recommended as a best management practice for mitigating erosion and off site agrochemical transport in Mid-South production systems. These results are of interest to farmers and farming stakeholders by providing additional information on the potential for improving crop production and mitigating negative environmental impacts.

Technical Abstract: Polyacrylamides (PAMs), when applied as a soil amendment, purportedly improve soil infiltration, decrease erosion, and reduce off-site agrochemical transport. The effect of PAM on infiltration, erosion, agrochemical transport, and crop yield when applied in-furrow to Mid-South production systems has not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to assess PAM effects on infiltration, erosion, corn grain yield, and N and P transport when applied at 10 mg L-1 through lay-flat polyethylene tubing. A two-year field study was conducted at the Mississippi State Delta Research and Extension Center, in Stoneville, Mississippi, USA on a Dundee silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, active, thermic Typic Endoaqualfs) and a Forestdale silty clay loam (fine, smectitic, thermic Typic Endoqualfs). The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replications of each treatment: irrigated plus no PAM (control), and irrigated plus PAM at 10 mg L-1. Each irrigation event delivered 41.5 ha mm at 18.9 L m-1 37 per furrow, and runoff was captured in a holding tank on the lower end of each plot. Pooled over year and soil texture, PAM increased infiltration and corn grain yield by 6% (P = 0.0398). Polyacrylamide effects on the off-site transport of sediment and N and P were inconsistent, varying across year and soil texture. Results indicate that PAM improves infiltration and corn grain yield on silt loam and silty clay loam textured soils; however, further research is required before PAM can be recommended as a best management practice for mitigating erosion and off site agrochemical transport in Mid-South production systems.

Last Modified: 09/24/2017
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